By Helen Royal (Mother of Christian)

I got the chance to talk to Helen when I interviewed her about her son’s beautiful pottery.  We shared such an instant connection that when it came time to write, I had to create two different stories.  One about the fantastic accomplishments of her son, and one more about what I learned from Helen.  Since then, Helen has become a true friend and source of encouragement. I’m so grateful that she agreed to share one of her stories in her own words with us for the Challenge!  Thank you Helen!   (From Stephanie)
Visit Helen and Christian at their website or on the following:

“Let the Bright seraphim, in burning  row

their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow.

Let the Cherubic sounds, in tuneful choirs

Touch their immortal harps with golden wires.” 

The  sound of Kiri Te Kanawa’s etherial soprano voice coming from our living room streamed above the three of us  sitting on the back porch.  My husband Mike, our two year old son Andrew and I, pregnant with our sixth child, often took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the fireworks from across the Ashley River on warm spring evenings. But this was an unusual occasion… It was Easter.   Why were there fireworks on Easter night?   Celebratory refrains from Handel’s Samson  describing  heavenly fireworks …the joyous melody sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s shimmering voice was reflected by the  clear sounds of the trumpet in response.  Vibrant colors soaring and bursting  into  fiery patterns reflected themselves in the river.       WE  were reflecting….wondering…..gradually considering the possibility that the grand finale of the fireworks might just perfectly coincide with the finale of Handel’s oratorio….”their LOUD…..UPLIFTED……Angel trumpet’s blow!  Our hearts responded in quiet  disbelief and  suspended breath as the last notes of the song wound their way around the fading sparks across the river. No one ON EARTH had planned this multimedia production. There was mystery involved here.

After the harbor breezes cleared away all but what remained in our hearts, we quietly retreated inside, our hearts overflowing with gratitude for witnessing  such unusual splendor.  

A few minutes passed.   Still in awe, I realized our  celebration was not yet  over:  someone else was responding to the magnificent concert.  I became aware of the early pangs of labor.  And just  before dawn our son, Joshua Christian Royal, was born.

Christian’s birthday will be celebrated on Easter Day this year, 22 years after our hearts were melted by an unearthly glory.  

(Though Christian’s entrance into this world was indeed dramatic,  my  adjustment to the surprise of having a baby born with Down Syndrome after having five “typical” children was not at all easy.  I fell in love with my child, but it was not without going through some shock and grief.  Slowly, the differences between him and my other children became to me his own “specialties”.  The characteristics that made him so particularly lovable to me, my husband and his siblings, were absolutely his DIFFERENCES!)   

(From Stephanie:  Here’s a video of the song Helen refers to in her story)